More needs to be done to protect wildlife in Wales according to a leading charity. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says action is vital as habitats and species are declining.
One of our most high-profile charities, the RSPB, says it depends not just on the volunteer help they receive - but the expertise it brings with it.
Two decades ago, this was the building site for the Conwy tunnel before it was transformed into a wildlife sanctuary - and now volunteers' experiences are being turned into some much-needed help for our birds, too.
The report - the first of its kind in Wales - will be officially launched in Cardiff tonight.
– Dr Trevor Dines, Plantlife Cymru
Wales is blessed with some fantastic and unique wildlife, but it is declining, the pressures it faces are growing, and our responses are not ambitious enough. The next decade is a tipping point and we must act in order to make a difference; otherwise we will see the extinction of species at a local level not seen before in Wales.
– Katie-jo Luxton, RSPB Cymru Director
We are challenging Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to put more of an emphasis on biodiversity, and to put energy and resources into helping wildlife, so that we can better understand the state of nature in Wales.
The State of Nature report found that recent environmental changes are having a 'dramatic impact' on the nature of the UK's land and seas. It also found evidence that species with specific habitat requirements are faring worse than those that can better adapt to a changing environment.
Other findings include:
- Over one in seven plants in Wales are considered threatened
- 63% of Welsh butterflies are declining
- More than a third of all woodland species assessed are in decline.
- The number of breeding upland wading birds, such as curlew, lapwing and golden plover, have declined by more than 75% in recent decades
But the report also found that some species are on the increase, including hen harriers, black grouse and bats.
Wildlife in Wales is at crisis point, according to a report published today. The State of Nature report, which has been compiled by organisations including the RSPB and wildlife trusts, found that over one in 10 of all the species assess are under threat of extinction.
The report states that the decline of species is due to loss of habitat, changing in farming, development, climate change and the impact of non-native species.
– Bethan Lloyd, RSPB Cymru
We know from the many people who take part in Big Garden Birdwatch every year that garden birds are incredibly precious to us. But, several of our familiar and best-loved species are continuing to decline at alarming rates.
We go to great lengths to ensure that special habitats in Wales are given the right levels of designation and legal protection because of their role in supporting threatened wildlife, but what's very clear is that every one of our gardens, the spaces literally on our doorsteps, are really important too and help connect us all to nature on a daily basis.
Sightings recorded in the survey are as follows:
- House sparrows down by 18 per cent.
- Starlings down by 15 per cent.
- Bullfinches down by 22 per cent.
- Dunnocks down by 5 per cent.
- Siskins up by 50 per cent.
- Long tailed tits up by 66 per cent.
The results of the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey are out and they don't make for positive reading.
In previous years the number of garden birds have declined and this year is no different. The birds we are visited by less and less include starlings, house sparrows and bullfinches.
Both starlings and house sparrows are both 'red-listed' species meaning it is of the highest conservation concern in Wales and across the UK. Bullfinches and dunnocks are both amber-listed.
Almost 30,000 people across Wales, including over 4,500 pupils and teachers at schools, took part in the Birdwatch in January counting almost 500,000 birds between them.
For more details on the numbers of birds surveyed, along with advice on making a home for wildlife in your garden visit the RSPB website here.
Thousands of people across Wales have been taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch over the last couple of days.
The RSPB says the cold weather has made birds head to parks and gardens in their search for food.
Amateur watchers noted the highest number of each species seen in their gardens or local park. Their findings will help experts gather vital information about the species that populate our gardens and parks.
The Big Garden Birdwatch has helped highlight an 'alarming decline' in some species, according to the RSPB.
An average of 15 starlings were seen per garden during the first Birdwatch in 1979. By 2012 that had fallen to an average of three starlings per garden - the lowest level ever recorded.
House sparrow numbers have also fallen by two-thirds over the lifetime of the Birdwatch.
It's not all bad news, however - some bird species have fared considerably better over the anual event's 34 years.
Sightings of popular species like blue tits, great tits and coal tits in gardens have increased since 1979.
And goldfinches, which were absent from the Big Garden Birdwatch top 15 in the early years, have featured regularly as a top 15 species since 2004.
Dana Thomas, from RSPB Cymru, said: "The decline of birds like starlings and sparrows over the last 30 years or so has been alarming.
"But Big Garden Birdwatch has helped us find out more about their numbers and distribution across UK gardens, and that has been the first step in helping to put things right."